Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sosta. with teeth.

We finally made it over to another spot of Raleigh awesomeness today: Sosta Café, located in downtown, right near Artspace, at the corner of East Davie Street and Wilmington. SO! YUMMY! Plus, the owner has a great apartment for rent in Avignon, France, and is having a raffle drawing for a free week there. Whooooo!!! Naturally, we entered that drawing. Overall, good menu - you can see it on their website – and the folks working in the café are great, and friendly, and they make a thoroughly excellent hot chocolate. I really, really hope they stick to this schedule of being open on Saturday... I will therefore probably be there every Saturday. Mmmm, hot chocolate.

Also: we finally saw the movie "Teeth."

It was actually better than I anticipated, though gruesome, though probably especially gruesome and creepy for male viewers. There were some angles of it plot-wise which surprised me, some were overly simplistic; overall a mixed bag, but a good one.

Did that make sense? Oh, just go see the movie yourself.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A night off for forgetting.

I took the night off, and we went to see "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." If you like juvenile humor in the vein of "Knocked Up" and "Superbad" and so forth - as I do - you will probably enjoy it as well. I especially enjoyed seeing it at the local theater that charges $1.50 per ticket. Heh.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


As mentioned, I have some commissioned pieces to finish, but I did manage recently to sneak in a little sketch right after I got back from France – a tiny little portrait sketch of Canadian artist Janette Hayhoe; we were in the same portrait painting class last year with Studio Escalier:
oil on panel
Diane Feissel

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I think I’ve found the ideal model for some of my next paintings, if I ever finish the commissions I’m working on:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I haven’t yet mentioned the horrific unfolding of the Libby Mystery Wound saga, most of which transpired while I was away in Europe. Basically, our dear roommate and fiercest feline compadre Libby acquired some manner of odd skin lesion/wound/crater which festered and blossomed to heinous, pus-filled proportions. Our vet hypothesized that this may be the result of a brown recluse spider bite, but I tend to disbelieve this theory; that spider must have been the size of my head to be able to leave a wound that enormous; even after the worst was over, after my return to the States when her wound was “healing”, she still had a seeping hole in her side that you could drive a truck through. It was, hands down, the most disgusting putrefaction of flesh I have ever to witness, surely along the lines of Civil War injuries. Gangrenous hideousness. Given the level of horror, I will refrain from posting a photo here; and please, don’t worry, she’s definitely healing up nicely (though not prettily). Though she does look cute in her little collar, designed to keep her from that perennial evil of picking (or, in her case, licking) her scab. Behold, Her Fanciness:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Marché aux Puces, Raleigh version.

John and I wandered up to the NC Flea Market yesterday, for a walk and a peek at the wares.

As always, there was some cool stuff, some gross stuff, and some funny stuff. So, in no particular order, some stuff...

I believe chocolate is always worth fighting for.

Crosstown traffic! Circa 1950something.
Can someone tell me why, oh why, that children’s toys are sometimes so creepy looking? I find these specimens terrifying:
Let’s hop on the nostalgia wagon: lunchboxes from the ‘70s. Yessss!! Considering that I had both the Bionic Woman doll and Charlie’s Angels dolls, it’s rather surprising that I had neither of these series’ lunchboxes. Apparently it’s never too late, though...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


By the way, here are a couple of the sketches I did while in the Louvre. I wish I could say I was good about capturing the info about whose sculpture, exactly, I was drawing from. But sometimes I’d forget to do that before settling into a sketch, and then at the end of the evening I was being shooed out by the security guards before having an opportunity to write down the info. These are both busts, obviously, and they’re French, 18th century I think, the first one is by Caffieri but the second remains a mystery. Which only means that I have to go back to Paris to find out. Heh heh heh yesssssss.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Back at the 311.

It was good to be back in the studio today. I’ve got to change out some of the work in there, though:

Friday, May 23, 2008

On the art front:

Haven't had much time to work on my own stuff, unfortunately, since I've been back home in NC - plus I have some portrait commission work to attend to before I can fully immerse in my own painty projects.

However, I did have the opportunity to see some great stuff while away... in addition to the 59 million trips we made to the Louvre, that is. I made a pilgrimage to a Paris-based gallery which is an off-shoot of a Danish gallery which I loved dearly, but which closed its Paris gallery in 2007. Anyway, so I went to the newly christened (as of this past fall, I believe) Galerie Susan Nielsen, conveniently located behind the Musée Picasso in the 3rd arrondissement. They were showing the French artist Patrick Cornillet, which was nice to see not only because his work was breathtakingly beautiful in an oddly bleak way, but also because it means that the Susan Nielsen place is branching out from the largely Scandinavian-only artists roster of Birthe Laursen’s gallery. Yeah!

Also refreshing on the art front was the Oisin Gallery in Dublin, which overall has a really great roster of contemporary artists, predominantly Irish and UK but definitely international. It was a shame that I didn’t get to see any works in person by my favorite artist that they represent, a French painter named Erwann Tirilly, but they had some good work on display from Stephen Forbes and Thomas Halloran, among other artists. Plus I made off with about 97 million brochures from past shows. Heh heh heh.

This painting by French artist Erwann Tirilly, image from Oisin Gallery's website. Image info:
(20" x 20")
oil on canvas

And as for here on the home front, I'm happy to report that one of my studiomates down at 311 West Martin Street Galleries and Studios, Shaun Richards, will be exhibiting in the month of June at Flanders Art Gallery. He has some great new pieces prepared, I had a chance to see some in-progress. I'll post the exact info once I have the details...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Does it get more Southern than this?

I am back in the South for sure... check out this gigantic, enormous honking magnolia flower from a tree in Nash Square, downtown Raleigh, diagonally across from my studio. All I need to complete this experience is a big ole mint julep:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My message to Emmy must have gotten through: this morning she waited until 5:30am to poke me in the face. Things are improving.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


In truth I really did miss the cats, and of course John, while I was away in France/Ireland. However, as much as I missed Emmy’s habit of poking me in the face in the mornings, she really outdid herself today - making up for lost time, I suppose. There was a widdle fuzzy paw prodding at my mouth at 3:30am. The paw was back around 4:30am, accompanied by a raging purr. I love to be loved and all, but I must insist that this love does not smack me in the face until at least 7am.
Ok, Em?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Raleigh = lush.

If one is going to come home off a stellar, divine, awesome, fun, beautiful, instructive, overall amazing time in Paris and Dublin, I’d have to say that arriving in the full bloom of a lush Carolina spring is not a bad way to do it. The weather today was absolutely teriific – and, likely due to the rain we had yesterday, it was actually less humid than usual. Glorious, glorious. The trees in our yard have once again plumped out with foliage to such a degree that one can’t see beyond our balcony, and when walking to work it is difficult to see oncoming cars exiting the I-440 off-ramp, as they are hidden by trees and shrubbery. Hence, it’s beautiful outside, but *slightly* more dangerous.

Awesomeness alert: there are honeysuckles blooming along the walk we take to work. Mmmmmmm, honeysuckles.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Outta Dublin, by a hair.

Some days, you know, they just start off on the wrong foot. If all’s well that ends well, however, then I’m all good and can probably forget the fact that I could have easily missed my flight out of Dublin this morning. However, I cannot ignore the factor of luck and maybe some karmic retribution in my having been saved from a travel-related debacle. Here’s what I like to think: because I showed un-Diane-like kindness in aiding a fellow traveler in navigating the Paris Métro three weeks ago, good travel vibes came to my aid in the form of my German roommate waking me up this morning to let me know my cab was waiting for me. Otherwise, I’d have overslept due to a battery malfunction in my alarm clock, and I’d be stuck in Dublin. A bad thing? Perhaps not… but in any event, it’s good to be back home as scheduled and reunited with my better half and our feline roommates. Ah, home.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Today I bid adieu to the Lofft kids and hopped on a bus for a 4 1/2 hour bus ride to the Atlantic coast of Ireland, in County Mayo. Some fellow painter friends are doing a residency program out in the windswept and rugged western side of Ireland, in a wee and charming little town. I was curious, so I thought it would be worth a grand total of 9 hours (round-trip) on a bus to check it out and to pay them a visit. I was not wrong, behold – extremely dramatic landscape ahead:

Alex and Hollis, in front of the sinkhole.

Some lovely sheep, grazing at the buffet:
Some cows, doing the same, with Downpatrick Head far in the background.
This is the highly dramatic and amazing Downpatrick Head, which looks like it is separating from Ireland and trying to float over towards America...
More of the rocky coastline:
It was totally, totally worth the trip.

Friday, May 16, 2008


We did more exploring of Dublin today, Kaff, Alex and me. As a treat to the painter in our group, we visited the Hugh Lane Gallery and the relocated and eerily preserved studio of Francis Bacon. Slobby, yet lovely:
Not a cheery place to hang, overall pretty sobering: Kilmainham Gaol.
Wines, spirits, Ireland.
A view of Dublin from above, at the Guiness Storehouse:
Cutest couple known to mankind:
By the way, I think I may have found one of the (many?) reasons why British and Irish cuisine gets a bad rap; behold, Exhibit A:
"Brown sauce"-?? I mean, what the heck is that?? Sigh.
By the way, I sampled it to find out - and, well, it tastes brown. Decidedly.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Whoo! Caught up with my sister and brother-in-law, ready for some Dublin stuff. Yay Dublin! We lucked out with some crazily beautiful sunny warm weather – unusual for a place accustomed to much sogginess. Here are Kaff and Alex in goooorgeous St. Stephen’s Green:
In case you were uncertain, this next one is the Temple Bar in the Temple Bar section of the city. Just to clarify. No confusion.
Alex took this one of Kaff and me on Grafton Street:
I think it's the ".com" on this that killed me:
Poor little swan, picking through the garbage to feed itself on the River Liffey:
More tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On the loose in Dublin.

WHOOO Dublin!!

I must say, it's nice to be back in a country where I speak the language, and therefore can understand the clever wordplay in the advertisements. Very punny, indeed:

And this - finally, a coffee joint that tells it like it is:
You may have noticed that I have a fondness for wig shops... I am especially fond of ones that tell me not to worry. OK! Not worried. I'm definitely not worried about there being any shortage of wigs, should I ever be in need.
Here's a slice of some of Dublin’s charms. Charm away, little doors:
Some ladies hanging out in Dublin:
Travel can be exhausting. Found this guy on the lawn at Christchurch cathedral - it looked like a good idea, so I assumed a similar position on a nearby lawn (but kept my shirt on).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Le dernier jour.

Last night after getting back from Nuernberg I stayed over with the lovely Ms. Susan (aka Violette), who scored this sweet lorgnette – a quality accessory purchase of which I am most covetous - from the optics shop down the way on the Rue Lepic, observe:
We both were out on on our separate journeys, however, by mid-morning today – she on to Angers, myself off to enjoy my very, very last (sniff) day in Paris before heading off to Dublin. Weeping and plodding through the city I went, including a pilgrimage to Le Paradis for their eeeeexcellent DIY (rather, mix it yourself – "MIY"-?) hot chocolate:
By the way, this advisory was written on the back of the bathroom door at Le Paradis, I thought it was worth sharing with you all:
I got one last look at lovely St. Merri, which has a new and interesting painting on its ceiling since the last time I was here:
Okay. Onward to Dublin... au revoir, Paris, à la prochaine!

Monday, May 12, 2008


So the reason for my daylong detour to Nuernberg, Germany was to drop off a painting for a client. However, once in Nuernberg, I could not pass up the opportunity to see this:
...the widdle baby polar bear born last December at the Nuernberg Zoo. CUTENESS. I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, she was out only briefly, and was a bit far away from where I was standing... here's the best photo I got of the wee bundle of fuzzy adorability that is Snowflake, the polar bear cub ("Flocke, das Eisbaerbaby):
I also got to see her waddle offstage with her minder. I died. Died of cuteness overload.
Also cute, though significantly larger, was Flocke’s Mom, Vera:
Unfortunately the Zoo has embarked upon a rather odd tactic for its marketing campaign to woo Nuernbergers to come see Flocke; behold, one of the umpteen bus shelter posters to be found around town:
Translation: Knut (the polar bear born in 2007 at the Berlin Zoo) is yesterday’s news, like Knut is so totally five minutes ago. As in, Knut, he’s all grown and no longer a cute widdle fuzzy wuzzy Eisbaerbaby, now he’s a full-grown polar bear just like all the others and could probably bite your head off, so who cares about Knut? COME SEE FLOCKE. Kind of a harsh message to put out there... that animals are no longer worth your while after they’re no longer widdle and cute. Alas, ageism strikes everywhere.

All that said, Flocke was indeed worth the trip. There were countless other lovely animals as well of course. And it was a beautiful day, sunny and gorgeous, and I was happy:

After the zoo expedition, I got to waddle about in Nuernberg. Many things were closed, as it was Pentecost. But it was an entirely pleasant day weatherwise and otherwise, city was lovely and in fine form, great walk through the center and up to the Kaiserburg. Here’s a shot of the placid Peignitz river:
And a view from the heights of the Kaiserburg:

A curiosity in the Hauptbahnhof - a whole world of wigs:
On my way back to the airport back to Paris at the end of the day, I snuck a photo of this couple on the U-Bahn... they were just so ridiculously, cutely typisch-ly Bavarian looking, I couldn’t help myself...
...not quite as cute as Flocke, but almost. Maybe.